Would removing my spleen help my white blood cell count?

A fellow caregiver asked...

If I have my spleen removed, will it increase my white blood cell count?

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Spleens are really like large lymph node, which means they remove old red blood cells and platelets from the blood, and can help detect and fight against certain bactaeria. Splenectomy (or removal of the spleen) is usually done when hte spleen becomes enlarged or is injured in a traumatic accident, as the worry is that it can rupture. Sometimes is can be removed to help diagnose lymphomas, or to help autoimmune diseases, but this is less frequent.

If your white blood count is low, the most common causes for that include viral infections, cancer, drug side effects, or blood disorders. White blood cells are made in the bone marrow, so it is not usually a problem with the spleen. My guess would be that a splenectomy would not improve your white blood count, unless it would be to find a diagnosis as to why your counts are low.

I would recommened that you see a hemotologist to get your low white count worked up to find the cause. Good luck!